Today’s Highlight in History:
On August 24 in A.D. 79, long-dormant Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in volcanic ash; an estimated 20,000 people died.
On this date:
In A.D. 410, Rome was overrun by the Visigoths, a major event in the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
In 1814, during the War of 1812, British forces invaded Washington, D.C., setting fire to the Capitol (which was still under construction) and the White House, as well as other public buildings.
In 1932, Amelia Earhart embarked on a 19-hour flight from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, making her the first woman to fly solo, non-stop, from coast to coast.
In 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty came into force.
In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Communist Control Act, outlawing the Communist Party in the United States.
In 1968, France became the world’s fifth thermonuclear power as it exploded a hydrogen bomb in the South Pacific.
In 1981, Mark David Chapman was sentenced in New York to 20 years to life in prison for murdering John Lennon. (Chapman remains imprisoned.)
In 1989, the Voyager 2 space probe flew by Neptune, sending back striking photographs.
In 2003, the Justice Department reported the U.S. crime rate in 2002 was the lowest since studies began in 1973.
In 2007, the NFL indefinitely suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick without pay after he acknowledged in court papers that he had, indeed, bankrolled gambling on dogfighting and helped kill some dogs not worthy of the pit.
In 2012, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency wiped out 14 years of Lance Armstrong’s cycling career — including his record seven Tour de France titles — and barred him for life from the sport after concluding he’d used banned substances.
In 2018, the family of Arizona Sen. John McCain announced that he had discontinued medical treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer; McCain died the following day.
Ten years ago: A Chinese passenger jet broke apart and burst into flames as it hit the runway, killing 42 people and injuring 54 others. A suicide bomber and gunmen attacked a hotel near Somalia’s presidential palace; at least 32 people were killed, along with two militants. In Florida, political newcomer Rick Scott beat Bill McCollum for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. (Scott went on to win election in November, narrowly defeating Alex Sink.)
Five years ago: U.S. Airman Spencer Stone, National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, their longtime friend Anthony Sadler and British businessman Chris Norman were presented with the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Hollande, who credited them with tackling a heavily armed attacker and preventing carnage on a high-speed train headed to Paris. Driver Justin Wilson, 37, died one day after he was struck in the head by a piece of debris during the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway.
One year ago: Two weeks before the Indianapolis Colts were to play their season-opening game, 29-year-old quarterback Andrew Luck announced that he was retiring after three injury-plagued seasons. Six people were injured when lightning struck a 60-foot pine tree at the PGA Tour Championship in Atlanta where they had been taking cover from rain.
Today’s Birthdays: Composer-musician Mason Williams is 82.
Rhythm-and-blues singer Marshall Thompson (The Chi-Lites) is 78. Rock musician Ken Hensley is 75. Actor Anne Archer is 73. Actor Joe Regalbuto is 71. Actor Kevin Dunn is 65. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is 65. Actor-writer Stephen Fry is 63. Actor Steve Guttenberg is 62. Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. is 60. Actor Jared Harris is 59. Talk show host Craig Kilborn is 58. CBS News correspondent Major Garrett is 58. Rock singer John Bush is 57. Actor Marlee Matlin is 55. Basketball Hall of Famer Reggie Miller is 55. Broadcast journalist David Gregory is 50. Country singer Kristyn Osborn (SHeDaisy) is 50. Movie director Ava DuVernay is 48. Actor-comedian Dave Chappelle is 47. Actor James D’Arcy is 47. Actor Carmine Giovinazzo (jee-oh-vihn-AH’-zoh) is 47. Actor Alex O’Loughlin is 44. Actor Beth Riesgraf is 42. Actor Chad Michael Murray is 39. Christian rock musician Jeffrey Gilbert (Kutless) is 37. Singer Mika is 37. Actor Blake Berris is 36. Actor Rupert Grint (“Harry Potter” films) is 32.